Canadian society has always dealt with some percentage of the population who have become addicted to intravenous drugs. Left unchecked, the ecology of IV drug use creates a number of societal issues as well as a greater burden to the already over-stretched Canadian healthcare system. Legally and financially supporting safe injection sites is just a matter of simple economics.
Vancouver Injection Drug User Study (VIDUS) is a project that gives a prospective study and has over 1500 IDU 's enlisted to assist since 1996 and gathers data on drug use, health, sexual activity, etc. Some of the topics discussed included: prison culture, availability and price of drugs and equipment, drug use, VIDUS shows that the risk of HIV infection indicated that incarcerated injection drug users were associated with a greater risk of 2.7 times (Small, Kain, Laliberte, Schechter, O 'Shaughnessy & Spittal, 2005).
An increase in drug use, specifically opiates, has overwhelmed the United States. This behavior has led to a rise in the transmission of HIV/Hepatitis C which would be otherwise preventable. The needle exchange programs in Moorhead, Milwaukee, and Scott County are working to lower the transmission rate and increase participation in treatment programs.
As the number of intravenous drug users continues to rise, so does the risk of dangerous and potentially fatal complications that are associated with illicit drug use. In this population, death rates are higher due to overdose, AIDs-related mortality, and other blood-borne viruses (Mathers et al., 2013). Mortality rates remain high even though precautions have been taken to reduce them. According to Lavender & McCarron (2013), “Mortality in injecting drug users is up to 22 times higher than for the age-adjusted population, despite increased provision of needle and syringe programs, reduced needle and syringe sharing, and higher uptake of hepatitis B vaccination” (p. 511).
Several studies have shown that injection drug users lower their risk of transmitting infectious diseases when there is a needle exchange program available. There has not been a valid study of whether or not the amounts of time needles are returned to the exchange programs are harmful to communities. The Journal of Public Health, conducted surveys, evidence from needle exchange sites, jails, and institutions that needle exchange programs are effective in reducing illnesses such as HIV and AIDS (Burt & Theide, 2016). Furthermore, Reepalu, Blome, Bjork, Widell, & Bjorkman (2012), researched the same individuals for 20 years, with no breaks. Their studies concluded that injection drug use, not only heightens the risk for HIV and AID’s, there is also an increase in Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. However, there studies showed that there is not an increase rate of cancer diagnoses due to injection drug use. In a study conducted by Bonar and Rosenberg (2014), they wanted to see if self-initiated harm strategies, such as: proper needle sterilization techniques, proper disposal of needles, and cleaning of the pre injected skin, could help improve the health of those that use drugs intravenously. Their study was conducted over an eight-month period, results showed that their
Safe injection sites are places where chronic users of drugs such as morphine, cocaine, and heroin can go to inject drugs in a safe and sanitary environment. The site itself does not supply the drugs, but offers addiction and mental health treatment, first aid in case of overdose or injury, and sanitary means to inject drugs safely. These sites apply what is known as the harm reduction model. In her
A safe injection site (SIS) has been placed in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside where drug use is a challenging problem. The program is a vital piece of the cities known harm reduction approach to its serious problems with homelessness, drugs, crime and AIDS. Canada has drastically shifted its method. Going from punishing drug users to establishing the plan of harm reduction. Since 2003 when the supervised SIS opened, it has presented a safe health-focused center where drug users have access to inject illegal drugs using sterile equipment in a clean environment under the supervision of medically trained professionals. Although there are some serious concerns about the
Imagine for a moment being able to walk down the street without seeing used needles or other drug equipment. Although it will not completely eradicate the problem, safe injection sites will allow users to have a safe and clean environment that they do not have access to now; not just to inject their drugs, but also to dispose of their used syringes. When given a 3-year trial at the first facility in Canada, it was found that fatal overdoses within 500 metres of the facility were reduced by 35 percent, and a 9 percent decrease in the rest of the city (Stueck, 2011). Thus proving the effectiveness of injection facilities not only in Vancouver, but nationwide. Giving access to support can significantly increase the quality of life for intravenous drug users. By providing sterile equipment the
There are many ways in which people who are addicted to intravenous drugs are perceived by our society. People sometimes believe the addicted person is to blame for their circumstance and substance dependence and some feel serious drug addicts are a “lost cause” due to a lack of values or flawed character. “Persons who struggle with addictions often are depicted as criminals or prostitutes, weak, lazy and morally corrupt” (Bartlett, R., Brown, L., Shattell, M., Wright, T., Lewallen, L. (2013). These stereotypes paint people with addiction negatively; a percentage of people who live with serious addiction are capable of recovery with the right attitude, support and healthcare. Street level healthcare services such as; safe injection sites, provide accessable resources at street level for people to make the choice to live healthier lifestyles. Govement funding and support is needed to make these projects possible to improve the health of Canadians. Safe injection sites are proven to be positive contributions to communities, save lives, reduce harm and open doors towards recovery for people from the grip of addiction.
Harm reduction can be defined as an approach that aims to reduce the consequences of high risk behaviours such as injection drug use on the individual and on society as a whole. Harm reduction programs provide injection drug users with access to a clean injection environment, sterile injections, drug-preparation equipment and safe disposal of contaminated material at the time of injection. Staff members in harm reduction facilities provide health teaching, anonymous HIV testing, information on addiction treatment, condoms and assist in connecting clients to social and health services (Semaan et al., 2011; Ball, 2007). Although, the benefits of harm reduction are evident through reduction of accidental drug overdose and prevention of
Safe injection sites possess many salutary benefits related to public health safety of the drug using community. Safe injection sites provide a safe place for drug users to inject drugs into their bodies so they do not have to reuse needles and can also be supervised by nurses constantly while they do so. Insite is the sole safe injection site in all of Canada and the expansion of other facilities has been fiercely contested by policy makers not due to empirical criminological evidence, but simply due to one dimensional classical conservatism inspired ideology and illogical hysteria. The fear propagated by the past Conservative government that by assisting drug users by feeding their addiction and by gathering so many law breakers in concentrated areas would correlate to an increased rate in crime. The traditionalistic ideology of the Conservative government mandated them to adamantly oppose the prospect of safe injection sites let alone their expansion into other regions and provinces regardless of the fact that there were no adverse effects for the community in terms of increased crime. Safe injection sites were introduced to Vancouver in 2003 under a special exemption under section 56 under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, which was granted by the Liberal government via Health Canada as a desperate means to help resolve the growing health concerns in the area. In 1998, a report by then British Columbia public health officer John Millar decried the situation in the
On the other hand, people who are against of needle exchange programs claim that the needle exchange programs don’t save lives but instead it can cause drug-related deaths. Even though NEPs help reduce the transmission of HIV and other diseases, they still encourage people to use more drugs, which could lead to death. Addicts are prone to death, perhaps not from HIV, but from overdosed, collapsed veins, poisoned dope, or the violence and criminality that go along with the illicit drug trade. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are more than 33,000 people who died from drug overdose in 2005. As a result, drug overdose become the second
Insite, a supervised injection site, that first came about in 2003 to provide community members with safe and sterile products and a better place for the injection of drugs (Insite Supervised Injection, Home section, 2011, para. 1). After almost a decade, the issue still continues whether Insite should exist or close down? According to many sources, there is no clear cut on whether Insite decreases the death rate or actually increases the usage of drugs. There are so many things that could be argued about and both sides seem easily agreeable. However, personally speaking, I believe that Insite should be allowed and further expanded throughout Canada. Insite provides an opportunity for the community members with a safe place of injection, counseling services, and lastly decreases the spread diseases and infections. Furthermore, Insite should be expanded and government should not be allowed to decide whether this service should continue or not.
Even though there are already harsh penalties toward those who contain and use illicit drugs, it would not be possible to give them these sentences without their presence. Many legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco have relatively dangerous affects that could lead to death in the same ways illegal substances can, which brings upon the question of why an individual’s well-being would ever be put before the law. INSITE has proven to the world that providing a secure and reliable facility for addicts to inject drugs will not only prevent them from harm and provide safety for the public, but it will also encourage users to seek recovery. Research shows that associations with the safe-injection site has caused a 30 percent increase in rehabilitation programs, and an estimate of $14 million in savings and 1000 HIV preventions through the course of 10 years (Mosher, 2011: 377). With the significant amount of evidence that INSITE has positively impacted toward society and its members, there is no reason not to launch additional safe-injection sites in areas where they are
Health services for people who inject drugs are subject to ‘considerable community concern and media and political attention’ (MSIC Evaluation Committee, 2003, p. 177). The development of a policy network, in July 1997 involved a multiplicity of actors who played an important role in the policy process. A NSW Parliamentary Joint Select Committee of ‘public and private spheres’ (Dennis, 2013, p. 78) was established to consider the feasibility for a trial of a MSIC. The Committee extensively reviewed the arguments contending for and arguing against proposals for a trial, and a suitable location. Copious submissions and evidence was put forward to the Committee with many advocators endorsing the action commenting that ‘injecting rooms may contribute to the reduction in the number of fatal and non-fatal overdoses by providing access to resuscitation and disseminating information about safer using practices’ (Parliament of New South Wales, 1998, p. 82).